Keystone Kop (monster class)

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For the monster, see Keystone Kop.

The Keystone Kop is a monster class that appears in NetHack, and is represented by an uppercase K glyph (K). Keystone Kops are designated internally by the macro S_KOP.[1]

The monster class contains the following monsters:[2]

Common traits

The Keystone Kops are all male humans that can be seen via infravision - all of them pick up items and have a tendency to wander, and are strong except for the basic Kop. Unlike most other human monsters, Keystone Kops are inediate, respect Elbereth and do not use the @ glyph.[3]


Keystone Kops are not randomly generated, and normally-created Kops are always generated hostile.

Keystone Kops only appear if you have overtly stolen items from a shop: if you step outside but remain near the shop, one swarm is created around you; if you teleport a long distance away or leave the level, one swarm is created around the shopkeeper and another around the down stairs. If that shopkeeper is pacified, any live Kops vanish from the level along with their inventory, including any items they pick up. Each swarm of Kops consists of DL + d5 ordinary Kops, as well as 13 + 1 as many Kop Sergeants, 16 as many Kop Lieutenants, and 112 as many Kop Kaptains, rounded down in all cases.

The Tourist quest goal level generates several Kops in a "police station" on the western half of the level at level creation.

Each Kop has a 13 chance of generating with either a club or rubber hose with an equal probability of each, and a 14 chance of generating with 3 to 4 cream pies.[4] Kops never generate with an offensive item, defensive item, miscellaneous item, or gold, and never leave death drops.

Keystone Kops are all valid forms for polymorph, which is generally one of the few means to encounter any of them outside of shop theft. They are also valid targets for genocide, but cannot be rendered extinct.[5]


While Keystone Kops are individually not very difficult to eliminate, their numbers are quite intimidating, and they can block your path long enough for more dangerous monsters (such as the angered shopkeeper) to catch up with you. For daring players, the Kops are a very good source of experience and cream pies, and even rubber hoses should you desire one.

One strategy to generate Kops is to steal a single gold piece from the shop and leave for a distant corner of the dungeon - this will summon a slew of Kops that you can kill, after which you can pay off the shopkeeper or pacify them through other means; make sure that no Kops make off with any of your loose projectiles or equipment. Another option if you do not want to face an angry shopkeeper is to push a boulder onto the doorway of the shop before you steal.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As of commit 200cc21f, shopkeepers can break boulders blocking their path, though they can only break one every several turns.


The Keystone Kop first appears in NetHack 1.3d - from this version to NetHack 2.3e, they appear in place of the kobold if the KOPS compile-time option was defined, and use the K glyph. In NetHack 3.0.0, the Keystone Kops' higher ranks are introduced, and the monsters retain the K glyph, though they remain a compile-time option.


The Keystone Cops are an incompetent bunch of policemen featured in a series of films from 1912 to 1917.


In variants that incorporate the Convict role, the locate level of the Convict quest generates four Keystone Kops, two Kop Sergeants, two Kop Lieutenants, and a Kop Kaptain at level creation.


In UnNetHack, when a Kop is killed, there is a 15 chance that another is summoned near the stairs, and a separate 15 chance that one appears on a random part of the level. In addition, the Kops can no longer be genocided.


In dNetHack, the Keystone Kops are replaced by the Keter Sephiroth, based on the Inevitables from 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons.


SpliceHack adds one new Kop to the monster class:

Encyclopedia entry

The Kops are a brilliant concept. To take a gaggle of inept
policemen and display them over and over again in a series of
riotously funny physical punishments plays equally well to the
peanut gallery and the expensive box seats. People hate cops.
Even people who have never had anything to do with cops hate
them. Of course, we count on them to keep order and to protect
us when we need protecting, and we love them on television shows
in which they have nerves of steel and hearts of gold, but in
the abstract, as a nation, collectively we hate them. They are
too much like high school principals. We're very happy to see
their pants fall down, and they look good to us with pie on
their faces. The Keystone Kops turn up--and they get punished
for it, as they crash into each other, fall down, and suffer
indignity after indignity. Here is pure movie satisfaction.

The Kops are very skillfully presented. The comic originality
and timing in one of their chase scenes requires imagination
to think up, talent to execute, understanding of the medium,
and, of course, raw courage to perform. The Kops are madmen
presented as incompetents, and they're madmen rushing around
in modern machines. What's more, the machines they were operating
in their routines were newly invented and not yet experienced
by the average moviegoer. (In the early days of automobiles,
it was reported that there were only two cars registered in all
of Kansas City, and they ran into each other. There is both
poetry and philosophy in this fact, but most of all, there is
humor. Sennett got the humor.)

[ Silent Stars, by Jeanine Basinger ]